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Eating Disorders

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  • Eating Disorders

    Eating Disorders

    People with eating disorders experience serious disturbances in their eating patterns, such as a severe and unhealthy reduction in their food intake or overeating, as well as extreme concern about body shape or weight. Eating disorders usually develop during adolescence or early adulthood.1 Eating disorders are not due to weak willpower or bad behavior; rather, they are real, treatable illnesses. The two main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

    Who has eating disorders?

    Women are much more likely than men to develop an eating disorder. Only an estimated five to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.1
    An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime.1 Research suggests that about 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia.2
    An estimated 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.1
    About 50 percent of people who have had anorexia develop bulimia or bulimic patterns.2

    What are the signs and symptoms?

    Anorexia NervosaBulimia NervosaWhat causes eating disorders?

    Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and alcohol/drug addiction are sometimes found in people with eating disorders. Some of these disorders may influence the development of an eating disorder, and some are consequences of it. Many times, eating and co-occurring disorders reinforce each other, creating a vicious cycle.

    What are the long-term effects of eating disorders?

    Left untreated, eating disorders may lead to malnutrition; muscle atrophy; dry skin, hair, and nails; dental problems; insomnia or chronic fatigue; ulcers; low blood pressure; diabetes; anemia; kidney, liver, and pancreas failure; osteoporosis and arthritis; infertility; seizures; heart attack; and death:

    The most common causes of death are complications of the disorders, including suicide.1
    The mortality rate among people with anorexia is 12 times higher than the death rate among females ages 15 to 24 from all other causes.1

    What treatments are available?
    2 Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. website. Accessed Feb. 2002. Netscape:
    3 Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan. Abnormal Psychology, 2nd Edition. McGraw Hill, Boston: 2001.
    4 Something Fishy Music and Publishing: Something Fishy Website. Accessed Feb. 2002. Netscape:
    You are not aware of the consequences that would result (if you were granted what you desire) because what you seek might be to your detriment. (O soul) be conscious that your Master is more aware about your well-being than you are.

    ~Ibn Al-Jawzee


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